Zoisa Walton

Director, Octopus Energy

 

We have caught up with Zoisa Walton to get her feedback on Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure. Zoisa is Director at Octopus Energy.

Earlier this year the UK utility Octopus Energy launched a new roaming charging service, which will allow EV drivers to access multiple charging networks with one account. Unaffiliated customers can also use the Electric Juice Network scheme. 

Electric Juice was first launched in March 2019 to offer four green energy tariffs for transportation businesses, including fleets and charge point networks. The company now supplies a third of the market’s charge point networks, it said.

EV Charging Infrastructure Team: Can you describe what your company does in EV charging market space and who your customers are?

Zoisa Walton:

Octopus Energy Group uses technology to make the green energy revolution affordable while transforming customer experiences. We offer 100% green electricity and dynamic pricing to charge point operators (CPOs) with our service: Electric Juice.

We also use our own cutting edge technology to make it easier and more affordable for our customers to charge electric vehicles (EVs) through activities such as the Electric Juice Network, and domestic energy tariffs like Octopus Agile and Octopus GO. Our customer base is CPOs, domestic customers, and commercial customers (fleets).

EV Charging Infrastructure Team: Can you give us an overview of one of your latest projects?

Zoisa Walton:

Our most exciting projects in the CPO space to date are:

Electric Juice: tailor-made, 100% green electricity tariffs and deep data analytics for the UK’s EV charging networks. Electric Juice has remodelled how electricity is supplied to charge points and is now serving one third of charging network operators in the UK. We’re really excited about this as we’re supporting the EV revolution, through lowering electricity costs to help wider deployment of EV charging infrastructure.

Electric Juice Network: A revolutionary roaming service that consolidates charging costs, offering Octopus customers the ability to pay through their energy accounts.

The parties involved have been: The Octopus Energy Group (Octopus Energy, Octopus Energy for Business and Octopus Electric Vehicles), the CPOs we have on supply, and our forward thinking innovation partners such as Char.gy (providing lamppost electric vehicle charging for everyone) and IONITY (the UK’s first ultra-rapid charging network).

Problem faced and solution sought: We created Electric Juice as a response to the challenges we recognise in the EV charging sector. We could see that once a charge point is up and running, a high proportion of the Opex is related to electricity.  Given the innovative nature of the CPO model, many energy companies were building in large amounts of risk that resulted in high single rate electricity tariffs to support this type of infrastructure.

As an innovative start-up with a similar mindset to many CPOs, we saw the global picture: in order to accelerate roll-out plans for charge point infrastructure, CPOs needed more support from their energy supplier. We therefore created Electric Juice, which is an energy service, offering dynamic, static time-of-use (TOU), fixed and flexible tariffs designed to help CPOs access better pricing for sourcing green electricity. Seeing the positive reaction over the last year in response to Electric Juice, we’re really happy to be playing our part to drive the EV revolution.

What problems does your project solve and are there any project cons: Electric Juice is helping to change mindsets around green energy.

Green electricity is traditionally perceived as an expensive and impractical investment, causing some CPOs to resort to brown electricity in order to keep an eye on costs. We realised that with deep data analytics we could shave costs off these CPOs annual electricity bills, providing competitively priced green electricity. We are proof that energy can be about consumer behaviour and innovation, rather than just standard investment into an asset.

It’s also helping address a national problem of balancing electricity on the grid, by providing an opportunity for CPOs to encourage better charging behaviours. For example, if CPOs use the Electric Juice Agile or Electric Juice TRI tariffs, customers can access cheaper charging rates by charging at off-peak times, when there is less stress on the grid. Additionally, there’s the added benefit of providing a greener charge at these times, when there is an abundance of renewable energy on the grid!

The Electric Juice Network was created after we identified that our domestic and business customers didn’t have an easy way to pay and consolidate costs when charging at home, at their places of work, or on the go.

With the Electric Juice Network customers can use their Octopus Energy accounts and charge their EVs through our Electric Juice Network partner CPOs, at home or at work, with all their costs appearing on one bill.

Project structure: Electric Juice and the Electric Juice Network are entirely owned by Octopus Energy Group.

Project costs to your client: We want to drive down costs through the use of our technology aided dynamic pricing, and provide tariffs that are as cost effective as possible.

Costs to the end user: Our competitive prices for CPOs, in turn, can be reflected in the prices they provide to EV drivers and fleets.

Difficulties you encountered in the run up, during and after project execution: One thing we’ve found is that the mindset of the energy industry can work against itself when pushing to be innovative. The energy sector is a blend of traditional views, regulation and new ideas. What’s badly needed from our industry in order to support the EV revolution is for innovation to happen at a real pace – that can be difficult with so many traditional market dynamics at play.

Key take-aways from this project: By one third of the UK’s CPOs partnering with us to use the Electric Juice service, we feel that this shows that consumers and CPOs really care about the content of their energy supply. In addition our early tests around adopting better charging behaviours have also been really positive.

We’ve also had lots of interest in the Electric Juice Network because of the convenience this brings to our customers. This has reinforced that customers should be at the heart of everything we do.

EV Charging Infrastructure Team: How do you see your company’s role evolve in 2020-2021 and what are the key market targets for you in 2021?

Zoisa Walton:

Over the next year we will continue to grow globally (Octopus Energy already has interests in Germany and Australia) where our tech-led energy model can really create benefits.

EV Charging Infrastructure Team: What is your advice to your future customers?

Zoisa Walton:

My advice is to be open minded. The ethos of the Electric Juice projects is that we pilot, learn and continuously develop models so that they can deliver the very best experiences for all customers. Partners and customers are essential to this learning process.

EV Charging Infrastructure Team: Taking your industry experience and projects you worked with into account, what are you going to address at our event on 9 October 2020?

Zoisa Walton:

I’m really looking forward to the event and in terms of what I’ll address – that’s easy! Given the experience we’ve gained through our Electric Juice projects we will be examining how dynamic pricing and technology has helped drive down the cost of electricity within the charge-point business model and the importance of disruptive thinking and innovation.

Zoisa is speaking at our EV Charging Infrastructure, AC, DC, V1G, V2G Stakeholder Focus Day on 9 October and is happy to have further conversations with industry peers. 

If you would like us to pass your message to Zoisa prior to Focus Day please contact Jane Huggins on enquiries@ukwideinvestment.com who will be able to facilitate your communication with him.